The long-awaited, heavily doubted peace talks between the government of Afghanistan and the Taliban terrorists kicked off in Doha on Saturday, a day after the 19th anniversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington, which are perceived to have been the triggering events for the US military mission in Afghanistan. On the Afghan side, the human cost of a four-decade conflict has been a death toll in the tens of thousands, with 12,000 deaths reported since the first of the year. A call for an immediate ceasefire by Afghan negotiator Abdullah Abdullah went un-matched by the Taliban, who are demanding that Afghanistan adopt Islamic law. Meanwhile, US President Donald Trump has confirmed that American troops in the region will continue to be reduced in number. He told Axios that the total will be reduced by half by November and the drawdown will continue until there are no troops in Afghanistan, fulfilling a 2016 campaign promise.
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